The ‘Connected Citizens‘ study from PPP was conducted in partnership with Anderson Strategy, as well as in collaboration with Huawei, and outlines the need for a network of cutting-edge digital infrastructure across the UK, following sustainability targets recently announced by the Government.
Included in the report is the requirement of radical nationwide improvement of digital skills, which can be met by utilising a long-term digital skills strategy based around making the education system fit for purpose in the digital age.
Also highlighted is the need for more power and support for Combined and Regional Authorities, to ensure effective collaboration and improvements alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The new digital operating model recommended by the report should mandate greater information and data sharing amongst local authorities, relevant stakeholders and digital operators from the early stages of development.
The report concludes that the powers of Ofcom are reviewed to ensure that the best provision is being delivered to UK citizens, in particular by assessing the effectiveness of Universal Service Obligations (USOs).
Additionally, the reformation or removal of the Digital Economy Act 2017 was recommended if an alternative strategy that improves connectivity comes to light.
Moving forward from 2020’s rapid-fire digital transformation acceleration
“This White Paper is a call to action, setting out five broad recommendations for a new digital operating model in Britain,” said Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, executive chair of Public Policy Projects.
“It identifies some of the challenges we face, and seeks to learn from the experience of others as well as ourselves.
“We should not underestimate the challenge, but nor should we lose sight of the opportunity to reshape our society to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
Justin Anderson, head of strategy at Anderson Strategy, and co-writer of the report, said: “The new digital operating model is a critical foundation to both realise the UK Government’s vision building a ‘Science Super Power’ and supporting its levelling up agenda.
“In these extremely challenging times for local authorities, it presents a pragmatic approach to use the drivers under their control to improve the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.”
Victor Zhang, vice-president at Huawei, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of addressing the challenges of digital connectivity.
“After 20 years helping the UK become better connected, Huawei recognises the nation’s depth of technology talent and innovation, and the importance of harnessing it to deliver economic and social prosperity for generations to come.
“Huawei stands ready to support levelling up the country by supporting economic growth and digital skills throughout the nations and regions.”
The full ‘Connected Citizens’ report can be accessed here.